Personally, when it comes to Commander, this entire block has had a lot of disappoints for me. But that’s because I run a monored Jaya deck in the format, so multicolored options limit me a lot. But when I’m not playing Commander, I love basking in all the colors – and Boros is one of my favorite color pairings.
Awe of the Guilds
Mostly limited fodder, Awe of the Guilds can make for some interesting plays due to its limitations. But being sorcery speed means you can’t use it to screw combats you aren’t directly involved with.
Clear a Path
Well, you now have a way to stop Wall of Deni– nope, you still don’t.
Of the Maze creatures, the Rusher scares more than I would like to admit. Haste on small creatures early in the game is annoying, but giving your big creatures haste late game makes this guy a vicious little common.
I love randomness more than most, but I am finding this absolutely hilarious in singleton formats. It’s the random red enchantment of this set and it does its job admirably.
Punish the Enemy
Instant speed damage is nice, but five mana is a lot for two conditional lightning bolts. The most redeeming quality here is that the creature and player don’t need to be connected…
The newest card to the Hammer of Bogardan family, Pyrewild Shaman is a nice little almost uncounterable pump spell. On his own, he isn’t anything special but with recursive bloodrushing is handy. In aggressive decks, this is the kind of pump spell I want and in Commander, I love getting as much value out of any card.
I wish Wizards would make up their mind. Riot Piker and Hellraiser Goblin aren’t quite the same, and it is a little weird. Aggressive goblin decks will love this guy, but in singleton formats he doesn’t do enough.
Seeing a 2/4 in red is weird, but not unheard of. A solid defender on the ground, I want to like this guy but Zealous Conscripts exists.
A neat little combat trick, but the overload price is a steal for tokens or hordes or any force. Both offensively and defensively, this is a fantastic little piece that manages to make overload work in multiplayer formats because it is so weird in 2HG games.
The Izzet League
Blast of Genius
This is what I want from a six-drop spell! Sifting is an underutilized card, while turning an expensive card into direct damage is amazing. Sure, the sorcery speed is a let down but the fact that this can hit players or creatures makes me want to try it out. Whether or not it is better than Prophetic Bolt requires more testing and is dependent on your mana curve.
I never thought the problem with Day of the Dragons was it not being an instant. Dragonshift is a weird spell that just feels fun. Token generating decks can temporarily turn an army of 1/1s into dragons! While the overload cost is expensive, it feels right as a finisher. It is a shame you can’t play this on an opponent’s creature though.
I don’t trust this. It feels far too fragile to work, though the ability to switch its power and toughness after blocking is nice. It’s a solid defender, but it just feels too weak for my liking.
Goblin Test Pilot
HANDS DOWN MY FAVORITE CARD IN THIS SET. This card is dumb, stupid and hilarious. I want to play Russian Roulette with him when everyone is at 1 life thanks to a suspended Worldfire via Jhoira. I know, I play Jhoira decks wrong – but this isn’t even Commander legal.
I’m bad at Magic.
Melek, Izzet Paragon
Oracle of Mul Daya is a favorite card of mine due to its usefulness at thinning and accelerating your deck. Melek is a weird Weird Wizard, but I like him (It? Do weirds have a gender?). While having the top card of your library revealed can ruin surprises, being able to cast from your library is fantastic. If Melek did just that, I would like him fine.
But he also Forks any instant or sorcery you cast from your library! This little change is terrifying, especially since he’s in the colors of burn and library manipulation. I didn’t think it was possible, but Brainstorm just got better. The only downside to Melek in commander is he’s smaller than I would like as a six-drop.
Turn & Burn
Fire & Ice is one of my favorite cards in Magic of all time, so Turn & Burn needs to live up to it. Turn is a decent Humble/Ovinize with one extra mana. Burn is almost Fire all over again! But being able to fuse them together to kill any creature on the board and maybe kill off something else? Well played Turn & Burn, you made your older sibling proud.
Izzet probably can make the most use of the cluestone due to the mana intensive nature of the guild. As a color pair, red and blue both can make use of an extra mana and can definitely make use of the cycling. Again, this artifact is nothing crazy but certainly more useful than Manalith if it is in your colors.
Damn Noah Bradley, you are rapidly becoming one of the best landscape artists in Magic – you’re getting up there with John Avon! As a gate, I love the enemy pairings a bit more since not everyone has access to Shivan Reefs or Volcanic Islands. It’s a solid land.
Minotaurs are quickly becoming a real tribe in Magic. A 5/3 for 5 is perfectly acceptable, but the token generation here is insane. Two 1/1 hasty soldiers whenever an instant or sorcery of yours deals damage – not damage to a player or damage to a creature, just damage. This is insanity at an uncommon! Oh and you can Digeridoo him out with easy. This is exactly the kind of power I want to see in multiplayer.
False Orders and Master Warcraft are some of my favorite combat tricks solely for the insanity of them in multiplayer. Boros Battleshaper does it over and over again each combat, giving you a terrifying amount of power in combats that aren’t even yours. Sure, 7 mana is a lot for this ability but if you can clone him or cast additional copies, the rules of the game fundamentally change as you essentially gain control of combat.
Gleam of Battle
I like +1/+1 counters (though it’s a shame how hard this is to combine with Simic) and I really like rewarding attacking. This is expensive, but is the perfect capstone in a token or weenie heavy deck.
Whoa. First, it is effectively +1/+1 for all of these creatures. Second, the activated ability is insane. The biggest issue with Boros has been how suspectable it is to mass removal but this allows you to get around Wrath of Gods and even Supreme Verdicts. Yes, yes a thousand times yes.
Tajic, Blade of the Legion
I would have been happy with a 2/2 indestructible for four mana as a legendary. That would have been enough, but the ability to become a 7/7 when attacking with friends makes this soldier terrifyingly awesome. Three hits in Commander, and you’re out. That is the kind of clock I want to see more of at the table.
Thematically, I really like this card. Being a 4/4 then only a 2/2 is very interesting – especially with flickering effects. But in eternal formats, it isn’t quite enough for me to be excited.
Lightning Helix is one of my favorite cards of all time, but that card is a touch overpowered. Warleader’s Helix feels like a rip off at 4 mana but that doesn’t stop it from being good. Eight life is a huge amount, even when you start at 40 in Commander. But as a burn spell, I would gladly pay 2RW for 4 extra life over 3R for just 4 damage.
Wear & Tear
Hull Breach at instant speed, in different colors and can be a touch easier to cast. This is the kind of utility I want in a split card. Wear is just Shatter and Tear is Demystify. But fused together, and this is a spell I see myself playing for years to come.
Red-white doesn’t have many options for mana acceleration, but Boros should probably be spending turn 3 on a creature, not on a rock.
Just like Izzet Guildgate – literally. Amazing art by Noah Bradley, useful at the kitchen table and an enemy color pairing, what more could you want?
While not technically an Izzet card, he’s included here since I had no where else to talk about it. I love this guy. As a planeswalkers, his +1 is solid and plays an interesting role in if you use it before or after combat. His second ability is just Lightning Bolt and that gets two thumbs up from me.
Then there is his ultimate which is delightfully absurd. He casts Stitch in Time five times! As someone who already has a Red-Blue coin flipping deck built, I am so happy that he exists.
Catch & Release
Catch is a fun little spell since you can swipe a land or even a Planeswalker, but it is just a useful little spell in a pinch. Release is an amazing piece of removal – especially against multiple opponents. Being able to take out one of every permanent type is exceptional. But combining these into a single 9-drop costing 5URRW? That is awesome and should result in at least one person being dead.